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Cablegate: Historic Science and Technology Agreement with Estonia

VZCZCXRO7213
RR RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDF RUEHHM RUEHIK RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHMA RUEHPB
RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHTM
DE RUEHTL #0428 3510731
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 160731Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY TALLINN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0965
INFO RUEHZN/ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COLLECTIVE
RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHDC

UNCLAS TALLINN 000428

COPENHAGEN FOR EST HUB
DEPT FOR EUR/NB

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SENV TNGD TSPL EN

SUBJECT: HISTORIC SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY AGREEMENT WITH ESTONIA
SIGNED

1. On December 11, after nine years of negotiations, Ambassador and
Estonian Minister of Education and Research Tonis Lukas signed a
bilateral umbrella Science and Technology Agreement. The agreement
will pave the way for increased collaboration between researchers,
science, educational and government institutions in the United
States and Estonia.

2. The agreement gives priority to collaboration on environmental
and biodiversity protection, marine sciences, energy, space, global
stewardship, HIV/AIDS and other health issues, science and
technology education, engineering, and sustainable development.

3. The S&T Agreement does not require ratification by the
Parliament. However, the Cabinet has decided to submit the
agreement for ratification for tax purposes. According to Estonian
tax law, organizations working in the framework of an agreement
ratified by the Parliament can apply for Value Added Tax (VAT)
exemption for goods, scholarships, grants or other funding used in
the context of the project. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has
prepared the bill for ratification and expects the process to move
quickly.

4. Current science cooperation between the United States and Estonia
focuses primarily on health issues and includes research projects
with the National Institutes of Health, the Howard Hughes Medical
Institute, Boston Scientific/Guidant Corporation and the U.S.
Civilian Research and Development Foundation. From 2000-03, a major
research program on oil shale was carried out under the auspices of
the Department of Energy. Also during the last decade the following
research institutions and companies have been involved in various
science cooperation projects in Estonia: Foundation of State
University of New York, Dow Corning Corporation, Hormos Medical
Cooperation, Pfizer Inc, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, Beloit
College, SUNY Downstate Medical Center, the Endangered Language
Fund, CERGE-EI Foundation, Bayer Health Care.

5. In the future, in addition to medical research focusing on
HIV/AIDS and the human genome, the GOE expects more bilateral
cooperation on oil shale research and science education. According
to Ulle Kikkas, Science and Technology Advisor to Minister Lukas,
special efforts will be made under this new agreement to promote
science education in schools through the U.S.-initiated GLOBE
Program (Global Learning and Observation to Benefit the
Environment). Further, the Ministry has demonstrated an interest in
adopting other youth science/technology education programs that are
popular in the United States, like "Camp Invention."

6. A slide show of the signing ceremony can be found at U.S. Embassy
Tallinn website: www.usemb.ee

7. Post will pouch the signed original agreement (in both English
and Estonian) to OES.

DECKER

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